A FORMER footballer is shedding nine stone in order to become a full-time MMA fighter.
And now he is nearly ready to make his debut fight in the cage.
Kevin Pannewitz, 31, was once on the books of Wolfsburg after earning a 2012 transfer following his impressive displays at Hansa Rostock.
But the German journeyman midfielder struggled with weight and discipline issues, though.
And his football career crumbled away with a series of short-term stints at various clubs around his homeland.
However, Pannewitz is now set to go into six months of intense training to prepare for his dramatic career change.
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And he even has an MMA fight lined up against fellow ex-footballer Martin Fenin for the autumn.
Fenin, 35, had a more successful career on the pitch, playing for Eintracht Frankfurt and earning 16 Czech Republic caps.
But Pannewitz is confident he can get the better of Fenin when they do battle in the octagon.
The Berlin-born star said: "I want to prove to myself, and everyone out there, that I can achieve anything if I really want to.
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"The athlete in me will now conquer the toughest sport in the world in MMA."
Pannewitz's intense training regime and strict diet will be tracked for a film documentary.
He needs to lose a staggering 56kgs – or 8st 12lbs – in order to make the 83kg weight limit for the bout.
Promoters Oktagon Deutschland plan to post fortnightly updates of his progress on YouTube.
Ex-Fulham boss Felix Magath was the manager who signed Pannewitz for Wolfsburg in 2012.
But the midfielder was released a year later due to drink-related problems.
Magath said at the time: "Kevin's lifestyle got in his way. We hoped his performances would make him forget his thirst.
"But it soon became clear that he was not behaving in a professional way."
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